Best Photo Editing Software for Beginners

Last Updated on Mar. 8, 2024
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Photo Editing for Beginners

With the help of cutting-edge software, everyone can create photo masterpieces. But with so many options available it may be difficult to choose and figure out which is best suited for your needs.

For example, if you're looking to create professional-quality photos but have no experience, Photoshop probably isn't the right choice to get started. It's incredibly intimidating and difficult to learn. You can't just open the software for the first time and start creating incredible photos.

This guide takes an in-depth look at our top choices that will allow you to quickly start editing like the pros without the steep learning curve.

Best Photo Editing Software

1. CyberLink PhotoDirector

CyberLink PhotoDirector is an all-in-one image editing software with an intuitive interface and a comprehensive range of editing tools. It offers all the features a professional photographer may need but with a user-friendly interface for beginners.

If you want to quickly fix, edit, and organize your photos PhotoDirector's AI tools are the ideal solution. Never have a problem finding the photos you want with advanced organization tools including facial recognition. Replace blown out or grey skies with colorful, beautiful skies in one click with the guided sky replacement tool. Use auto color enhancement to make your photos look their best or apply deblur to guarantee everything is in focus.

Have fun transforming your photos with eye-catching effects. Turn photos into paintings with the style effect, manipulate a picture's look with color replacement or create glitch art. You can even make animations with dispersion, lights rays, sparkle, and bokeh effects. Or easily turn videos into multi-exposure photos or panoramas.

If you're looking to create posters, banners, and websites you can take advantage of PhotoDirector's layer editing capabilities. You can utilize the program's layer filtering, masks, and group layers to combine photos, graphics, and text. Full support for LUTs, pro formats, and RAW ensures compatibility with a wide range of DSLRs enabling you to achieve any look you seek.

Plus gain free access to a library of millions of world-class stock images from iStock by Getty Images from right inside the app to allow you to complete any photo project.

Key Features

  • One-click auto enhancement
  • Library of photo templates and stock images
  • Ready-made filters
  • Photo animation tools
  • AI-powered tools to save time
  • Layer-based and 360-degree photo editing


  • Easy program for beginners to learn
  • RAW editing support
  • A comprehensive range of professional editing features
  • Guided edits to help beginners apply special effects
  • Social media sharing tools


  • Lens correction profiles are limited


Gimp Interface

The GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) is an open-source photo editing app with various professional tools. The most basic features you get with GIMP include noise reduction, customizable brushes, gradients, color adjustment, and cropping. You can also apply various automatic tools to enhance your images.

Other notable features include layer filters and masks, and you can access a free animation package. Because GIMP has an open-source architecture, it supports downloadable and pre-installed plugins that you can use to edit your photos.

With GIMP, you can manipulate any image file and export the final product into any file format. Like PhotoDirector, this graphics software allows for layer editing so you can manipulate various components within your photos.

However, one downside of GIMP is that its interface is not as intuitive and straightforward as that of PhotoDirector.

Key Features

  • Layer editing tools
  • Editable text layers
  • Foreground extraction tool
  • Painting tools, such as brush, pencil, and airbrush
  • Support for various file formats


  • Cost-effective photo editing program
  • Professional image editing tools
  • Multiplatform and web-based software
  • Suitable for various image formats
  • Quick and easy layer editing


  • The interface can be confusing at first

3. Corel Paintshop Pro

Corel Paintshop Pro Interface

Corel Paintshop Pro is a photo editing solution for retouching and restoring images or adding effects to photos.

Paintshop Pro has a user-friendly interface that is easy for beginner photographers to learn and use. It consists of two tabs: manage and edit. Under the manage tab, you can use the program's face detection feature and view images, EXIF data and geotags.

With the tools under the edit tab, you'll find common basic editing options, such as adjusting brightness and contrast. These tools also allow you to crop images, fix red eyes, and remove your subject's imperfections.

Paintshop Pro supports all file formats, including RAW, GIF, TIFF, PNG, JPG, and PSD. You can use the app to optimize images for online use, ensuring fast webpage loading speeds without losing image quality.

While Paintshop Pro offers various professional photo editing features, it is not as responsive as PhotoDirector, and some of its operations tend to be slow. The program also doesn,t have a macOS version.

Key Features

  • Essential editing tools
  • One-click effects and makeover options
  • Image optimization for online use
  • Vector graphics, color palettes, and brushes
  • Batch processing and photo management tools


  • Robust photo editing suite
  • Intuitive user interface
  • Useful vector drawing tools
  • Automatic one-click enhancements


  • Only available to Windows users
  • Some functions are slow

4. Skylum Luminar 4

Skylum Luminar Interface

Skylum Luminar 4 is an image enhancing program for Windows and Mac. It offers various basic photo editing features, such as cropping and color adjustments. With this latest version of Luminar, you also get access to a wide range of professional features to enhance or manipulate your images.

Luminar 4 has many features included in PhotoDirector like sky replacement, which lets you switch out the sky in your photo. Or beautifying tools like the skin and portrait enhancer to smoothen your subject's skin and remove blemishes. They both also include teeth whitening, red-eye removal, and face slimming.

Other high-end features of Luminar 4 include AI Structure that allows you to magnify elements in your image and AI Smart Contrast that enhances your image with a single click.

Skylum Luminar 4 is a viable alternative to PhotoDirector. However, it doesn't offer the same photo management and animation features.

Key Features

  • Intuitive interface
  • Skin and portrait enhancement features
  • AI sky replacement
  • Seamless integration with Lightroom
  • Lookup table (LUT) mapping


  • Easy program to learn and use
  • Integration with Photoshop and Lightroom
  • AI features


  • Limited keyword tagging and metadata management features

5. Adobe Lightroom Photo Editor

Adobe Lightroom Interface

Adobe Lightroom is an all-in-one solution for raw image editing and image cataloging. Even though the program,s primary goal is to edit raw images, you can use it to edit TIF, JPG, and PSD images too.

The most significant advantage of Adobe Lightroom is that it is a non-destructive photo editor. Using this program allows you to edit and export your images without changing your original file. During the editing process, Lightroom creates a new image file, which streamlines your workflow.

Lightroom is ideal if you need a sophisticated built-in file management system. However, this program doesn't offer the same robust photo editing features as PhotoDirector. PhotoDirector also offers non-destructive photo editing as well.

Key Features

  • Intuitive user interface
  • Non-destructive editing
  • Robust RAW file editor
  • Image cropping tool
  • Built-in image cataloging system


  • Easy gallery organization
  • Web gallery, photo books, and slide show creation
  • Editing presets to save time
  • Original file protection with non-destructive editing


  • No blend mode or layer editing features
  • Lacking graphic design elements


Whether you,re looking to enhance your images for social media or start a career in photography, selecting the right photo editing software is critical. When choosing photo editing software, you have to consider various factors, with editing features and usability being among the most critical. Ideally, you also want an editor that saves you time with features such as ready-made filters or one-click auto enhancements.

CyberLink PhotoDirector is the ideal photo editing software for novice photographers and other content creators. The software is easy to learn and use, and it offers an extensive range of high-end photo editing features. You can use PhotoDirector to enhance your own photos, restore images, or make changes such as sky replacements.

To improve your images and make the most of your photography talent, download CyberLink PhotoDirector today.

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